90% Chance of El Niño

    A worker of SABESP, a Brazilian enterprise of Sao Paulo state, that provides water and sewage services to residential, commercial and industrial areas looks at the cracked ground of Jaguary dam in Braganca Paulista, 100 km from Sao Paulo January 31, 2014. This has been the hottest January on record in parts of Brazil, and the heat plus a severe drought has fanned fears of water shortages, crop damage, and higher electricity bills that could drag down the economy during an election year for President Dilma Rousseff.  REUTERS/Nacho Doce (BRAZIL - Tags: ENVIRONMENT ENERGY POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX182N6

    Nacho Doce/Reuters

    The global weather phenomenon known as El Niño has a 90 percent chance of happening this year, according to the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. El Niño, which occurs when large amounts of water in the Pacific Ocean become warmer than usual, can have devastating effects. Predictions include weaker monsoon rains in India, hurting its already precarious food supply, even more severe droughts in Australia, and collapsed fisheries off South America. However, El Niño may be welcomed in North America, as its rains could bring an end to extended droughts in California and the Midwest. “The amount of warm water in the Pacific is now significant, perhaps the biggest since the 1997-98 event,” said the ECMWF. The late ’90s El Niño was the hottest recorded in the 20th century, and led to a mass die-off of coral reefs.

    Read it at The Guardian